When it comes to barbecue, steak on the grill is a passion for most, a hobby for some and a primal urge for many. But it takes more than a love of fire to master the grill.
It turns out there is one basic step that is often overlooked that can make you a grill hero or have you hand in your tongs.
Selecting the “right steak for the job” is the make-or-break moment. Although there are three basic cooking categories for steaks (Grilling, Marinating and Simmering Steaks), Canada Beef’s national survey of beef-buying Canadians found that over one in two beef shoppers don’t think to consider the “type” of steak they need to buy that works best for the grill. The purchase decision is primarily made on price and the size and shape of the steak.
“Most shoppers make the assumption that all steaks are equal and then use the same cooking method for all,” said Joyce Parslow, professional home economist and director of Consumer Relations, Canada Beef. “It’s pretty simple but often misunderstood: a steak is not a steak. Simmering Steaks like a top blade are amazing when done in the slow cooker where they tenderize nicely, but they are definitely going to be a disappointment if cooked on the grill.”
In the absence of an understanding of beef cuts, study results discovered shoppers tend to default to familiar cuts with well over three-quarters of beef shoppers reporting they buy the same few cuts over and over. If their “go-to cut” is not available, about half don’t know what beef cut to try as an alternate.
“Limited knowledge about cuts means less freedom to choose between options in price and taste experiences — so consumers miss out on some terrific options for grilling,” said Parslow. “Canadians should explore options like the top sirloin cap steak — a moderately priced flavourful grilling steak that’s sized just right to serve with a side of in-season vegetables.
“Buy what you need,” adds Parslow, noting that understanding what steaks work best on the grill and what ones don’t is key to getting the best eating experience and value for the money.
In today’s information-driven world, Canada Beef has made it simple yet fun to find the right cut of beef. The organization has developed The Roundup app (available in both official languages). The Roundup is a homegrown solution that puts a guide to buying and cooking Canadian beef into the consumer’s hands. The Roundup is like having both a butcher and a chef to consult with on demand. It is more than a recipe app — with a keyword search function for all beef cuts including descriptions and pictures so you can recognize each beef cut at the beef counter. The Roundup also includes Canada Beef’s test kitchen-verified cooking recommendations with how-to videos that empower home cooks.
“The Roundup app is the tool that allows the consumer to get the information they need at that critical moment of purchase so they have the best experience possible when they grill at home,” said Rob Meijer, president, Canada Beef. “With our research findings demonstrating that over 80 per cent of younger shoppers (aged 20 to 34 years) want to improve their cooking skills and that this same group would just as soon turn to an app to learn as they would a butcher, we knew The Roundup was the right thing to do.
“I invite Canadians to not only connect with The Roundup to enhance their shopping and grilling experience in summer, but use it year round to take advantage of all the Canadian beef cuts they have to choose from at the meat counter — any time of year. There are so many beef cuts to choose from, it’s a shame there are only 365 days in a year to try them! I encourage Canadians to visit their local store or restaurant and ask for Canadian beef,” says Meijer.
The Roundup app is available free of charge for both Android and Apple mobile devices, and is in both English and French. It can be downloaded at the App Store and Google Play. For more information, visit canadabeef.ca.
Canada Beef is the cattle producer-funded and -run organization responsible for domestic and international beef and veal market development. It has offices in Canada, Mexico, Japan, China and Taiwan. Canada Beef works to foster loyalty to the Canadian beef brand and build strong relationships with trade customers and partners. These efforts increase demand for Canadian beef and the value producers receive for their cattle.